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chat system in PHP

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I am trying to create a chat room in PHP.. I tried an open source PHP121 chat that uses AJAX. I could understand the working but, the thing that I disliked was the use of database to store messages between users.. I think, it would not be a good practice to access db for each message that is forwarded to the users chatting.. (it may create too many db connections and many transactions simultaneously when the more than 100 users chatting at same time.. I dont know, if my concept it clear .. plz elaborate, if I am wrong)..
Now, the next step I tried was to use XML to store and retrieve messages but this time, I was not able to find the DOM API.. (if anybody knows, plz help me).
My next step was to use simple text file to store messages but then I stumble upon the problem of multiple users accessing (read/write) 1 file at the same time..

I am still not sure, which is the best method to incorporate a chat system (1 to 1 chat only) in PHP..
Should I use Socket programming in PHP ?
I found this article recently posted here "http://www.devshed.com/c/a/PHP/An-Introduction-to-Sockets-in-PHP/".

Any help would be greatly appreciated..
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If its 1 on 1 chat using ajax I dont see why you need to store the messages anywhere, however if needed a database (mysql) would be fine.

As for XML (as a storage mechanism) , the DOM has nothing to do with it.

Sockets are great if you want / need your own proticol, but in a http (web) environment there not needed.

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